Usage of Verb-ing Modifiers - Part 1 : GMAT Sentence Correction (SC) - Page 2
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# Usage of Verb-ing Modifiers - Part 1

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16 Jul 2012, 11:01
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Hi Himanshu,

Thanks for this addition. This point is covered in our concept og Verb-ing Modifiers.

I would just like to briefly explain why comma + verb-ing modifier takes the tense of the preceding modifying clause. It does so because the verb tense of the main clause defines the tense of the sentence. So that tense sets the context of the timeframe for that sentence.

Since the main verb sets the tense of the main action in the sentence, all the other actions by default takes the same timeframe. Now, verb-ing modifiers are not verbs but they certainly denotes some action and hence, take the same tense of the verb in clause modified by the verb-ing modifier.

Thanks.
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16 Jul 2012, 20:45
dpvtank wrote:
I just want to make sure I got this right.

"For members of the 17th century Ashanti nation in Africa, animal-hide shields with wooden frames were essential items of military equipment, protecting warriors against enemy arrows and spears."

Using Joe's example above, wouldn't this be incorrect? In the example, Joe is not doing the action of increasing his salary. Similarly, the shields themselves are not doing the action of protecting, they are, as the sentence reads, just "items of military equipment." Am I stretching this a bit too much here? I can see how the shields' function is to protect so I kinda see your point also.

Applying your logic, would this sentence be correct?
"For the Ashanti warriors of Africa, shields with wooden frames were essential items, helping win battles."

The shields are protecting the warriors and therefore helping them win battles, therefore this sentence would be correct. However, if I were to get a bit technical, I would argue that the shields themselves are not DOING the action of protecting, but rather that the warriors are USING the shields to protect themselves and therefore winning the battles.

Which perspective is correct?

In retrospect, I was thinking too much writing this. The simplest way to figure this out is to simply say: are the shields protecting the warriors? yes! therefore - correct.
Is Joe increasing his salary? No. Therefore incorrect. I got too carried away with the whole "action" vs. "function" part. It really can be simpler.

For anyone in the future who similarly curdles his or her brain into mush and over-complicates everything: please take a break!
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17 Jul 2012, 04:24
I have learnt all the grammatical concepts from e-Gmat only... I am an ex Student of e-Gmat.
Thanks
Himanshu

egmat wrote:
Hi Himanshu,

Thanks for this addition. This point is covered in our concept og Verb-ing Modifiers.

I would just like to briefly explain why comma + verb-ing modifier takes the tense of the preceding modifying clause. It does so because the verb tense of the main clause defines the tense of the sentence. So that tense sets the context of the timeframe for that sentence.

Since the main verb sets the tense of the main action in the sentence, all the other actions by default takes the same timeframe. Now, verb-ing modifiers are not verbs but they certainly denotes some action and hence, take the same tense of the verb in clause modified by the verb-ing modifier.

Thanks.

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17 Jul 2012, 06:46
Hi @dpvtank,

I'm glad you could solve this riddle by yourself. The best way to find out what the modifier is modifying is ask the modifier the question the way you did. The answers if makes sense with the modifier then it is modifying the correct entity. If not then the modification is incorrect. Good job there.
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19 Jul 2012, 05:58
Shraddha, Can you explain the steps to arrive at the correct answer for this question? sc-law-44878.html

What does the modifier in the first sentence, making it possible modify?
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19 Jul 2012, 07:16
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pavanpuneet wrote:
Shraddha, Can you explain the steps to arrive at the correct answer for this question? sc-law-44878.html

What does the modifier in the first sentence, making it possible modify?

Hi Pavan,

On account of a law passed in 1933, making it a crime punishable by imprisonment that a United States citizen hold gold in the form of bullion or coins, immigrants found that on arrival in the United States they had to surrender all of the gold they had brought with them.

The sentence does not convey the meaning so clearly because of the construction. So let’s first understand what the sentence means. A law was passed in 1933. According to this law, it was a crime punishable by imprisonment for a US citizen to possess gold in the form of bullion or coins. Because of this law, immigrants found that they had to surrender all the gold they had brought with them on the arrival in the US.

Now let’s do the error analysis:
1. “a crime that…” is not an idiomatic expression. We need to say “a crime for a US citizen”.
2. Accordingly, “… a US citizen hold gold” will change into “… a US citizen to hold gold”.

The verb-ing modifier here appears after “law passed in 1933”. Now “passed in 1933” is a verb-ed modifier that is modifying “law”. The verb-ing modifier is also modifying “law”, a slightly far away noun. As such, we don’t have modification issue here.

POE:

A. On account of a law passed in 1993, making it a crime punishable by imprisonment that a United States citizen hold: Incorrect for the reasons stated above.

B. With a law passed in 1933 that makes it a crime punishable by imprisonment that a United States citizen hold: Incorrect.
1. The sentence now seems to suggest that the immigrants arrived in the US with the “law”.
2. All the errors of Choice A are repeated.

C. A law passed in 1933 that made it a crime punishable by imprisonment for a United States citizen holding: Incorrect.
1. There is no verb for the subject “A law”. We have a fragment here.
2. “holding” should be “to hold”.

D. Because of a law passed in 1933 making it a crime punishable by imprisonment for a United States citizen to hold: Correct. This choice makes the sentence structure correct so that the meaning is clear.

E. Due to a law being passed in 1933 that makes it a crime punishable by imprisonment for a United States citizen to hold: Incorrect.
1. Use of “Due to” is incorrect.
2. Use of “being passed” is not correct.

Take Away:
1. The sentence structure should be such that it conveys the intended meaning clearly.
2. Always use correct idiomatic expressions for correct and clear meaning of the sentence.
3. Modifiers must make sense with the entities they modify.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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19 Jul 2012, 07:51

There is one more that I am confused with, though I could get the to the right option through POE, but I really could not get the right usage of modifiers in this sentence. for-the-farmer-who-takes-care-to-keep-them-cool-providing-99974.html

Based on POE, given that the sentence says them, it should modify plural subject, and are producing in other choice seemed inferior so went for E. However, I am not convinced how structure of the sentence plays the role in this. Can you explain this as well. Thanks.
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19 Jul 2012, 11:07
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pavanpuneet wrote:
Based on POE, given that the sentence says them, it should modify plural subject, and are producing in other choice seemed inferior so went for E. However, I am not convinced how structure of the sentence plays the role in this. Can you explain this as well. Thanks.

Hi Pavan,
For the farmer who takes care to keep them cool, providing them with high energy feed and milking them regularly, Holstein cows are producing an average of 2275 gallons of milk each year.

Since the meaning of this sentence is not too difficult to understand, let us get to error analysis. I would just like to add here that this question pertains more to parallelism and verb-tense rather than verb-ing modifiers.

1. Verb-ing modifiers do not make sense in this sentence because the farmers do not provide the cows with high energy feed and milk them to keep them cool. These verb-ing modifiers do not make sense to present additional information. Also, they cannot provide the results of the preceding clause. Doing so will make the sentence illogical. So use of verb-ing modifiers is incorrect here.

2. This part is very unusual of official questions, but we have this one off-beat parallel list here. The farmers takes care:
a. To keep them cool
b. To keep them provided with high energy feed, and
c. To keep them milked regularly.

This list could be made simple by saying farmers take care to keep them cool, provide them with high energy feed, and milk them regularly. But the author has decided to make it complicated so let’s keep it that way.
So certainly, the entities in the list are not parallel.

3. Usage of present continuous “are producing” is incorrect here.

Now let’s do the POE:

A. providing them with high energy feed and milking them regularly, Holstein cows are producing: Incorrect for the reasons stated above.

B. providing them with high energy feed , and milked regularly, the Holstein cow produces: Incorrect.
1. Verb-ing “providing” makes the list non-parallel.
2. Singular “cow” cannot refer to plural pronoun “them”.
3. The sentence is talking about general Holstein cows and not a particular Holstein cow. So “the Holstein cow” is incorrect and subsequently the verb used for this subject too.

C. provided with high energy feed, and milking them regularly, Holstein cows are producing: Incorrect.
1. Verb-ing “milking” makes the list non-parallel.
2. Present continuous “are producing” is incorrect.

D. provided with high energy feed, and milked regularly, the Holstein cow produces: Incorrect. Same pronoun-antecedent number agreement error as in choice B.

E. provided with high energy feed ,and milked regularly, Holstein cows will produce: Correct. Notice that this sentence is in “if… then…” construction, and hence use of “will produce” is correct.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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Re: Usage of Verb-ing Modifiers - Part 1 [#permalink]

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15 Aug 2012, 20:11
i have great problem in -ing modifier. i am always stuck in it whether it plays role as an opening modifier or as a gerund. for example in OG 13 Q 14, "rising inventories", here rising plays the role of opening modifier. if i say "drinking coffee is good for health", here "drinking" is gerund right?? could you please elaborate the topic with GMATic example

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09 Sep 2012, 11:31
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thangvietnam wrote:
Thank you, but I am still confused.

Can I think that
"for doing" in D modifies "support" and is logic
and
"to do" in E modified "provide" and is not logic

Pls, help explain of why D is wrong? Thank you very much.
@thangvietnam, If the intent of first verb(main verb in the clause) is to 1) prove the second verb or 2) reach the goal expressed in second verb or 3) express intent for second verb(infinitive), then use the infinitive form, otherwise use the other form than infinitive form.

This can be proven by a general grammar principle with infinitives, which says that infinitive verb form expressed like "in order to [infinitive verb form]" can be reduced to "to [infinitive verb form]". Note that "in order to" is a setting or plot here suggesting intent or goal. Putting "in order to" helps in isolating milk(correct choice) and water(wrong choice) in the sentence.

Eg. Japan must overcome serious obstacles in order to keep its economy in gear. -->can be reduced to--> Japan must overcome serious obstacles to keep its economy in gear.
We study atoms in order to find out how world works. --> can be reduced to-->We study atoms to find out how world works.

Now, let us see both of the problems, by applying the above logic, but by some reverse engineering. Apply "in order to" in place of "to" and check the validity and meaning.

New genetic evidence - together with recent studies of elephants' skeletons, tusks, and other anatomical features - provide compelling support for classifying Africa's forest elephants and its savanna elephants as separate species.
D. provides compelling support for classifying
E. provides compelling support to classify

Place "in order to" in place of "to" in choice E to check.
It will become "Evidence provides compelling support in order to classify elephants".
Clearly, the intent/aim of first verb provides is not to classify(2nd verb/infinitive form) the the elephants from the preceding sentence, so E can be discarded and D becomes winner.

Let's take second example for this reverse engineering technique.

Warning that computers in the United States are not secure, the National Academy of Sciences has urged the nation to revamp computer security procedures, institute new emergency response teams, creating a special nongovernment organization to take charge of computer security planning.
(D) and create a special nongovernment organization for taking
(E) and create a special nongovernment organization to take

Place "in order to" in place of "to" in choice E to check. E will become "NAS has urged the nation to create a special nongovernment organization in order to take charge of computer security planning. This makes perfect sense as first verb create has been done with the intent to take charge of (2nd verb/infinitive). This clearly makes E winner.

Hope This Helps
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16 Sep 2012, 23:49
Thanks for posting such good article. Really helped to set some demons straight. A good help indeed.
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18 Sep 2012, 11:11
Thanks, I am glad it helped. Do check out the free concept on the website. Click on the url below to register for free.

https://e-gmat.com/secure/register_gc.php
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04 Oct 2012, 06:28

I'm very much adept with Verb ing modifier, but recently I have been getting confused while applying the comma+verb ing rule i.e. subject of the clause must makes sense with the modifier.

The below is the correct sentence from GMAT prep

The number of people flying first class on domestic flights rose sharply in 1990, doubling the increase of the the previous year.

Can you please shed some light as how the number of people is making sense with the verb double.?
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24 Oct 2012, 07:40
imhimanshu wrote:

I'm very much adept with Verb ing modifier, but recently I have been getting confused while applying the comma+verb ing rule i.e. subject of the clause must makes sense with the modifier.

The below is the correct sentence from GMAT prep

The number of people flying first class on domestic flights rose sharply in 1990, doubling the increase of the the previous year.

Can you please shed some light as how the number of people is making sense with the verb double.?

Hi Himanshu,

The number of people flying first class on domestic flights rose sharply in 1990, doubling the increase of the previous year.

In this sentence, “doubling” does make sense with the subject “the number of people” because this number of people doubles the increase by flying. It is due to this number of people that the number passengers doubled. The subject perfectly makes sense with the verb-ing modifier.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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Re: Usage of Verb-ing Modifiers - Part 1 [#permalink]

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02 Dec 2012, 08:14
Thanks e-GMAT for another great article...

Please keep us involved in getting through more of the critical and crucial verbal topics for GMAT.
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Re: Usage of Verb-ing Modifiers - Part 1 [#permalink]

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02 Feb 2013, 01:53
egmat wrote:

Five fledgling sea eagles left their nests in western Scotland this summer, bringing to 34 the number of wild birds successfully raised since transplants from Norway began in 1975.

(A) bringing
(B) and brings
(C) and it brings
(D) and it brought
(E) and brought

We will solve this question, using e-gmat three-step process.

STEP 1: MEANING ANALYSIS
The sentence says that this summer, five fledgling sea eagles left their nests in western Scotland. This action brought to 34 the total number of wild birds that have been successfully raised since transplants from Norway started in 1975.

As mentioned earlier, verb-ing modifiers are made from “verbs” and they denote action. Now, any action needs a doer. In the same way, the verb-ing modifiers also associate with the subjects of the preceding clause. What we must keep in mind is that the action denoted by verb-ing must make sense with the subject of the clause. The use of verb-ing is correct only if it makes sense with the subject of the clause it is modifying.

Now let’s take this example:
Joe became the CFO of the company, increasing his pay significantly.

Here the verb-ing modifier “increasing” appears after the clause and is preceded by a comma. This means that this modifier will modify the preceding clause either by presenting additional information about the preceding clause or by presenting the result of the preceding clause.

Now, per the intended meaning of the sentence, Joe became the CFO of the company. This event led to increase in his salary. Now, the subject of the sentence is “Joe”. However, he is not the doer of the verb “became”. He did not make himself the CFO of the company. Now look at the verb-ing modifier “increasing”. Since verb-ing modifier denotes an action and hence associates with a verb, “increasing” associates with “Joe”. The sentence thus means that Joe became the CFO of the company and as a result he increased his salary. We know that this is not even a possibility. What resulted in Joe’s increased salary is the event of his becoming the CFO.
Hence, even if this sentence appears to be written in appropriate construction, it is incorrect since here the verb-ing modifier does not make sense with the subject of the preceding clause. This sentence can be written correctly as follows:

I am not clear with these two examples and with your explanations.

For the first example Eagles are not the doer of the "bringing" , as you said in your own explanation "The sentence says that this summer, five fledgling sea eagles left their nests in western Scotland. This action brought"

similarly,

For the second example,

Joe became the CFO of the company, increasing his pay significantly.

action of "Joe's becoming the CFO" increases his pay.

As you said in the first example the action of (eagles left) makes the bringing, here again action (Joe became) makes the increasing

I think there is nothing wrong here with your explanations. So why is that second one is wrong? I understand the part Joe did not become CFO by himself, but it does not change anything. Still this action (becoming a CFO) makes the increase in his pay.

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Re: Usage of Verb-ing Modifiers - Part 1 [#permalink]

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02 Feb 2013, 08:27
egmat wrote:
Hi Himanshu,

Thanks for this addition. This point is covered in our concept og Verb-ing Modifiers.

I would just like to briefly explain why comma + verb-ing modifier takes the tense of the preceding modifying clause. It does so because the verb tense of the main clause defines the tense of the sentence. So that tense sets the context of the timeframe for that sentence.

Since the main verb sets the tense of the main action in the sentence, all the other actions by default takes the same timeframe. Now, verb-ing modifiers are not verbs but they certainly denotes some action and hence, take the same tense of the verb in clause modified by the verb-ing modifier.

Thanks.

great , thank you e gmat.

if I remember correctly, comma+verbing can take the tense of one of the 2 previous verbs, depending on context if there are 2 verbs before "comma+doing" . can you give me an example of this situation
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10 Feb 2013, 02:42

Please provide explanations for the following question, in line with the Verb+ing modifiers concept.

Scientists have recently discovered what could be the largest and oldest living organism on Earth, a giant fungus
that is an interwoven filigree of mushrooms and root-like tentacles spawned by a single fertilized spore some
10,000 years ago and extending for more than 30 acres in the soil of a Michigan forest.

A. extending
B. extends
C. extended
D. it extended
E. is extending

TIA.
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Re: Usage of Verb-ing Modifiers - Part 1 [#permalink]

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19 Feb 2013, 11:51
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Sinner1706 wrote:

Please provide explanations for the following question, in line with the Verb+ing modifiers concept.

Scientists have recently discovered what could be the largest and oldest living organism on Earth, a giant fungus
that is an interwoven filigree of mushrooms and root-like tentacles spawned by a single fertilized spore some
10,000 years ago and extending for more than 30 acres in the soil of a Michigan forest.

A. extending
B. extends
C. extended
D. it extended
E. is extending

TIA.

Hi Sinner1706,

This is one of those questions in which OG indicates that a sentence can have a verb-ed modifier parallel to verb-ing modifier - if the context permits.

Lets first understand the sentence structure of this question:

1. Scientists have recently discovered
2. what could be the largest and oldest living organism on Earth, a giant fungus
3. that is an interwoven filigree of mushrooms and rootlike tentacles
a. spawned by a single fertilized spore some 10,000 years ago
b. and extending for more than 30 acres in the soil of a Michigan forest.

So as you can see, there are three modifiers for fungus
1. that is an interwoven filigree - Tells what is this fungus
2. spawned by... - Provides a characteristic
3. extending for...- Provides a characteristic

Spawned and extending are parallel because of the context of the sentence. The author wants to establish two properties of fungus
1) it was spawned by single fertilized spore - This happened in the past.
2) it extends for more than 30 acres - this is true in the current time frame as well.

So this is logical parallelism. Now that we know that these have to be parallel, we can try to make them grammatically parallel by making them consistent with each other. But in this case we cannot make both verb-ed or both verb-ing modifiers since then the meaning will be distorted. Lets check that -
1. fungus spawned by single...and extended for more than...
The second modifier now changes the intended meaning since it no longer implies that the fungus still extends...

2. fungus spawning by single fertilized spore and extending for...
Now first modifier changes the meaning since it now implies that fungus is still in the process of spawning - which is non-sensical.

Thus, the context of this sentence requires that verb-ed modifier be parallel to verb-ing modifier.

In this case, it does not make sense to say that tentacles are spawned by a single fertilized spore. It only makes sense to say that the fungus was spawned by a single fertilized spore.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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Re: Usage of Verb-ing Modifiers - Part 1 [#permalink]

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07 Jul 2013, 03:47

Fabulous work on Verb-ING modifier...

Your article is comprehensive & easily understandable ,clarifying almost all doubts regarding this topic. ( I hope i have used Verb-ing in correct form )

Regards
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Re: Usage of Verb-ing Modifiers - Part 1   [#permalink] 07 Jul 2013, 03:47

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